A drive around many of Indianapolis' neighborhoods would show a familiar sight: bags of leaves piled up at the curb. But there's only one problem. The city is no longer picking up leaves.
The leaf collection season for 2021 began on Nov. 8 and ran through Friday, Dec. 3. But warm temperatures early in the fall made for an unusual leaf season. October saw some days in the low 80s while a few days in November even neared the 70s.
That meant the normal foliage colors did not pop nearly as bright this year and the leaves did not start falling until later than usual. Many homeowners took advantage of Saturday's dry weather to rake up their remaining leaves.
Still, the Department of Public Works said it does not have plans to extend its leaf collecting season.
The city said it's possible the window could shift later next year, as it evaluates the dates for each leaf season on a year-to-year basis. But historically, the DPW said that timing the end of the season for the week after Thanksgiving works best because many households have more time to do yardwork.
"Additionally, historically if the window goes too far into December, snowy and cold weather arrives and folks aren’t doing much raking anyway," said Lindsay Trameri with the city.
But what does that mean for all those households that have bags of leaves piled up at the curb? Where should they take them? Keep reading to find your alternate options:
The city first recommends folks explore home composting options for their leaves, or to mow mulch them in place. This, of course, depends on the size of each homeowner's yard and how many leaves they have.
There is a regular city-operated drop-off at the Citizen's Transfer Station. They accept extra trash at the 2324 S. Belmont Ave. location every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $2 per carload or $5 per SUV or pickup truckload, and is cash only. The leaves accepted at this station will not be composted.
Folks can bring their leaves directly to South Side Landfill, which is where the city takes the leaves during the collection season. The landfill is located at 2561 Kentucky Ave. and they accept drop-offs during normal business hours: Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays until 3 p.m. The rates are based on volume, but generally cars are around $20. Leaves that are brought to the landfill will be sent to compost.
One other alternate site folks can bring their leaves is to GreenCycle, a landscaping company in Indianapolis. It has a handful of locations around the city, and they will accept leaves during business hours of Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $20 fee to drop-off leaves, and they will be composted — however, GreenCycle does not accept plastic bags.
For more information, residents can also contact the city's Department of Public Works at 317-327-4000.
Call IndyStar reporter Sarah Bowman at 317-444-6129 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @IndyStarSarah. Connect with IndyStar’s environmental reporters: Join The Scrub on Facebook.
IndyStar's environmental reporting project is made possible through the generous support of the nonprofit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Leaf bags are still piled up on streets, here's where to take them